Celebrating Mothers in STEM: Ivy Obare’s Journey of Courage and Determination

My name is Ivy Obare

Which STEM field are you in?


What/Who inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?

My parents introduced me to a computer from a very young age and as I learnt how to use it, I developed an interest in tech and went on to study Computer as a technical subject in high school and Telecommunications Engineering in university. Just that interaction with the huge desktop computer in my parent’s living room sparked my interest in STEM.

Could you share a brief overview of your journey in the STEM field?From an early age being introduced to a desktop computer sparked my interest in tech. I went on to further select Computer studies as a technical subject in high school and later pursued Telecommunications Engineering in university. The real journey began after college. I had a hard time finding an internship in Telecommunications and after about 2 years I got a job lecturing Telecommunications students in a TVET. I quickly realized I was not passionate about the teaching aspect and transitioned into Data science where I am currently. Navigating the male dominated STEM field as a female is quite difficult as you will be less preferred for more technical and field jobs. I am however finding my footing in data and optimistic that the future will be better.

How has motherhood impacted your career journey in STEM?

I feel like I cannot progress as fast as I could have if I was not a mother, however being a mom also gives you more motivation to keep going regardless of the challenges. Like now, my time is more occupied with motherhood, leaving me with less time to dedicate to upskilling, I also have to consider my child’s welfare when job hunting.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a mother in the STEM industry?

Definitely time. STEM requires constant upskilling and work hours. Juggling that with motherhood can be quite difficult because on one hand, at the end of the workday, you are exhausted then you come home to start “shift 2” ensuring your house is a home and having quality family time, then you need to upskill, maybe a course online. Whew! its exhausting.

What support systems or resources have helped you navigate the challenges you faced being a mother in STEM?

Currently I am still struggling to find support being that I am still on the job hunt, with limited financial resources.

In what ways can the STEM industry better support and accommodate mothers?

How about, child care in work spaces. Flexibility to work from home where possible.

How can we (mothers already in STEM) encourage more mothers and aspiring mothers pursue and thrive in STEM careers?

Don’t give up as challenging as it may get. Have a support system, even just a journal to write out your thoughts can be calming

What advice would you give to young women aspiring to pursue careers in STEM while also planning to become mothers?

Ensure you have achieved your goals significantly, like 75%, before becoming a mom.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience as a mother in STEM?

I have accepted that my progress will be slow but Its still progress as long as I don’t give up.